‘Not just a ban on plastic, regulate thermocol too’

Will the ban on plastic end up spurring the usage of the equally dangerous thermocol or styrofoam? That is what activists fear.

Though thermocol products today constitute a small portion of the garbage that the city produces (around 4 per cent), they fear that a ban on plastic might throw up thermocol as an alternative. Comparatively, thermocol is ecologically more dangerous than plastic, but for the quantity in circulation, say green activists. Though both plastic and thermocol are non-biodegradable, plastic is easily recyclable while thermocol is not.

Though the draft notification, in its preamble, clearly notes that thermocol plates and cups are ecologically dangerous, the operative portion does not mention styrofoam or thermocol.

“Presently, there is no technology to recycle thermocol. There are only two options: either compress and dump them in soil or burn it, which is known to release carcinogenic gasses,” said Sanjeev V. Dyamannavar of PrajaRaag, who has sought regulation of thermocol in response to the plastic ban notification.

Lack of awareness

Bindhu Vinodh, an activist who recently led a successful campaign against the use of Styrofoam plates at Phoenix Mall, said that eating food in such plates pose health hazards. Awareness about the issue is sufficient, he adds.

Ramachandra, Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), agreed and said that thermocol is the biggest threat to solid waste handling, as it cannot be recycled.

A small portion of thermocol waste is only being compressed and reused.

Bharath, an entrepreneur who has put up the first plant to reuse thermocol, said that he compresses around three quintals of thermocol every day. It is used to make photo frames and for sound proofing.

However, not everyone feels that banning thermocol is a practical solution.

Green activist Suresh Heblikar said that a ban on plastic or thermocol will not be practically implementable without addressing socio-economic and lifestyle issues.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 10:17:15 PM |

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